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How long does it take for your body to heal/recover after smoking cigarettes?

By February 13, 2009 - 2:19pm
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I quit smoking nearly 10 years ago after nearly 20 years of smoking almost a pack a day.

I read somewhere that it takes the body a very long time to "heal" itself after all that poison in the system which is a bit disappointing after all the work it takes to quit.

does anyone know if the body ever really recovers from a 20 year smoking habit? I was under 35 when I quit.

thank you

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EmpowHER Guest

i read somewhere after 10 years your golden & your as healthy as a person thats never inhaled smoke before.

December 29, 2009 - 2:18pm
(reply to Anonymous)

What you most likely are referring to is that after 15 years of quitting smoking, "the risk of coronary heart disease is the same as a non-smoker's", which is great, indeed!

However, this is just one piece of the puzzle. After 10 years of quitting smoking, the lung cancer death rate "is about half of that of a person who continues to smoke", and "risks of other cancers (mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, pancreas) decreases, too", but are not as low/equal to that of a person who has never smoked.

Unfortunately, once someone quits smoking, after years of smoking, their risk factors for most diseases, including decreased life expectancy, is still higher than than of a non-smoker. The only statistic that does suggest someone is "golden" as far as being a regular smoker and then quitting...and being as healthy as a person that never smoked before...is only related to coronary heart disease after 15 years of quitting. Otherwise, all other risk factors and health conditions are still at an increased risk, unfortunately.

U.S. Surgeon General's Report, 1990
American Cancer Society (ACS), Accessed 2010

January 10, 2010 - 7:49pm
EmpowHER Guest

Read ALLEN CARRS Easyway TO STOP SMOKING , its all you need, no pills, patches, or even Champix required.
Im a non smoker for a month now, no problems, and im feeling great.

May 7, 2009 - 6:33am
EmpowHER Guest

I have been a smoker for five years now. I guess i got into smoking while i was in college and hanging out with friends. I used to go over to their houses and sit around 4 or 5 of them smoking and i was the only non-smoker at the time. Eventually i started to bum a smoke here and there then i bought my own pack and... wham just like that i was hooked. A couple years down the road i got married and had two wonderful kids. My son is now 4 and keeps begging me to quit smoking, and i know that my parents and wife are behind it. However, i am happy to say that i haven't had a cigarette in over a week. It was hard for the first couple of days, but i managed to talk two of my friends into quitting with me. They are not doing so good with it but they have definitely drop their consumption rate. But, just knowing that they were there and trying to quit with me made a huge difference. I think that the buddy system can go a long ways when you are trying to quit. So all you smokers looking to quit grab a buddy and go for it. Best of Luck.

April 28, 2009 - 6:18pm
EmpowHER Guest

I totally agree with rylons. you have to want to quit in your heart or it just wont happen. I quit cold turkey when i was 29 after starting when i was 12 by the time i was 14 i was smoking a pack a day. when i decided to quit i just did. it was that easy for me after 17 years. but i always sort of craved them. my husband did not quit though and two full years almost to the day, went by and i asked my hubby for a smoke and it was the best smoke i ever had so i decided i would just smoke sometimes. HA! now almost 6 years later i am still smoking a pack a day. But I like it. that is the problem. Today is my first day being a non smoker again. I will be 37 next friday. It is time. I heard if you smoke around the ones you love you increase their chances for lung cancer 30% that is alot. I smoke in the bathroom when the weather is bad, but my nonsmoking freinds say they can smell it and sometimes my kids will follow me to the bathroom so that is silly. anyway. Wish me luck. Here I go. I am 16 hours clean. When I quit before I made sure when i woke up my first day there are no cigs in the house. brush teeth like every hour or two to get the taste out, drink lost of water, and take a lot of showers. and the first day isnt that bad, day two and three i remember were worse, but after that it's not so bad. if you make it past that then to smoke seems like you put yourself through that for nothing so it actually helps you move forward as a non smoker. that is what i am a non-smoker!! :)j

April 14, 2009 - 6:15am
EmpowHER Guest

I will be 40 years old in May, I have smoked since I was 12 or 13. a pack a day or more since I was 18. I love smoking, and I really hate it! It's a constant battle with my brain. I want one but I know it will only lead to wanting more. I like the patch, not the 21 mg. that is to much. I start with the 14 mg. It really takes the edge off. Before I started to quit I reduced the number of smokes I had each day. First I stopped smoking in the car. Then I started waiting as long as I could before having the first one of the day. Then try smoking half at a time. It's a great way the cut your intake in half. It's all about breaking those habits from 25 years of smoking.
If you lack will power like I do maybe this will help. Physically not doing something is easier than doing it, all you have to do is not do it. It's the mental part that is the hardest for me. Everytime I remember I smoked it makes me want one. It gets easier each day, it won't alwats be this hard.

I listened to my paretns tell me to quit for years, it bugged the crap outta me. If you want someone to quit there is not much you can do untill thet want to quit. All you do is bother them and make them not want to be around you. Trust me, smokers don't want to hear aqbout it, we all know we should quit. We don't need you to tell us!

Flavored tooth picks also help, it gives you something to do, I think it's the hand-mouth thing that is sort of familiar and comforting. also sunflower seeds help pass the time.

Stop by the health food store and reward yourself with something healthy. Juice or something goof for you. it's a nice way to to say your sorry to you r body for the years of smoking. Kind of like buying flowers after you piss of the wife! ...... Just kidding

just getting through the first week or two is the hardest part. Have a glass of wine to help you relax and fall asleep. It really helps me but if you can't drink without wanting to smoke then better stay away from drinking.

Good luck everyone! We can do it! I know so many who have quit and I want to be one of those people too!

April 9, 2009 - 6:02pm
EmpowHER Guest

Hey Folks. My name is Bryan from Toronto Canada. I still enjoy and find it so empowering to read blogs on this subject. For me, according to Smober Stats...I have been smoke FREE for 5 months 2 weeks and 5 days. If you're asking me if I can believe I actually did it....The answer would be a huge NO!! Champix was the trick...although the dreams were interesting I decided to quit the Champix at 7 weeks and hope for the best. Seems I was very much prepared for the challenge. 4 months ago I joined a fitness gym...go every second day and OH YA...I love who I have become and hate who I was...maybe a little harsh....lets just say I'm really freakin happy!! For all of you out there in internet world reading this.....The power is within YOU and YOU and YOU....trust this...trust yourself and choose to be free from an addiction that promises to kill you if you continue. I send every ounce of will that I can spare to you all...Good Luck...let the battle begin!! Peace out!!

April 6, 2009 - 7:22pm
EmpowHER Guest

My 60 days are over. I haven't tried Chantix but am free from the early withdrawal symptoms, thankfully. Making direct amends to my body and mind is at the top of my list.

April 2, 2009 - 8:18pm
EmpowHER Guest

Wow you guys are an inspiration. I am on my 3d week of taking Chantix and have been smoke free for 5 days. I really like the Chantix, I do not feel the horrible withdrawl symptoms, but am dealing with the psychological desire to have a cigarette. I actually have 3 left from my last pack and feel that I'm really committed to quitting for good this time, because even when I'm really wanting to "just have one" I haven't and I know I have them. I honestly think that is what is keeping me sane, knowing I have a few but not actually doing it. It is empowering me to keep going telling myself give it a few minutes and if you need it have it and then in those few minutes I have forgotten. I have smoked for 15 years and wish daily I never started. I hope I am successful as all of you. Thanks for sharing your stories.

April 2, 2009 - 4:57pm
EmpowHER Guest

I stopped smoking 3 months ago. Previously I quit 3 times for 6 months (was up to 2 packs a day) and 3 years ago I quit for 11 months (never over 3/4 pack a day- see tip below). This time it is for real. I am 56, started when I was 19. Father-in-law is dying- hospice comes in now. He can't get enough oxygen to remain fully awake anymore. I have a tip for stopping that helped me every time. Keep a small rectangle of paper inside the cellophane wrapper-new one each day. Write down the time every time just before you light one up. It will decrease your smoking in half right away. After a few weeks try to wait an hour between light ups. Try to extend the time or to decrease the number smoked by one a day. Doctor told me once you get to 6 or less a day- you are no longer hooked on the nicotine-it is habit only. I quit cold turkey when I got to 10. Feeling much better but not like I did when I quit before- hope my lungs can repair but can't be worse than not quitting. Good luck to anyone who quits.

March 22, 2009 - 8:20am
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